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Log Truck Rescue Was Difficult

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

A logging truck crash at the Anderson Hill section of W.Va. 89 Saturday left two persons injured in a dramatic rescue by local fire and EMS personnel, according to New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry W. Couch.

Authorities say that around 2 p.m., the fully-loaded truck left the roadway and plunged approximately 70 feet over a steep embankment, coming to rest against some smaller trees that left it precariously perched on the hillside.

As the truck began its descent, the driver, Roy Yoho of Wetzel County, reportedly jumped from the cab, landing about 30 feet over the embankment–about one-half the distance from the roadway to where the truck came to rest.

He sustained various and reportedly non-life-threatening injuries and was able to be removed rapidly from the scene by firefighters and EMS workers. He was transported to Wetzel County Hospital. Later, according to officials, he was transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. His condition is not known.

Because of heavy front and rear damage to the cab from the shifting weight of the logs, the unidentified passenger was trapped inside. Rescuers had to secure the truck to prevent it from continuing its descent over the hillside. Once secured, nearly a dozen logs had to be removed before the entrapped passenger could be rescued.

Cable come-a-longs, as well as a cable from a tow truck, were used to systematically remove the logs from the truck.

Firefighters then used various hydraulic tools from among those collectively known as the “jaws of life” to displace the truck’s cab, dashboard, and firewall, to help free the victim.

“This was an all-out effort by everyone involved,” said Couch, who was the incident commander. “We used nearly every resource at our disposal to carefully, safely, and methodically extract this victim to safety without endangering him or his rescuers.”

New Martinsville Fire Fighters were assisted by Grandview and Paden City firefighters, Jackson Towing of New Martinsville, as well as several knowledgeable loggers who were at the scene.

Grandview Fire Department also assisted in establishing the landing zone for a helicopter that airlifted the unidentified passenger to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

Paden City Volunteer Fire Department provided coverage for potential additional calls at New Martinsville’s Steelton Station.

Ambulances from NMVFD and Wetzel County EMS responded to the call. Bayer Corporation’s Emergency Services were asked to place their helipad on stand-by as an alternate landing site.

The accident remains under investigation by the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash was reported to the Wetzel County 911 Center at 1:56 p.m. The first rescue unit arrived on the scene at 2:12 p.m. The entrapped victim was extricated from the wreckage at 4:23 p.m.